According to a source received by STR, the chief editor of popular tabloid news website All Singapore Stuff (ASS) may have been arrested. The last posting on the ASS website is dated three months ago on 19 Dec 2017, and there has been no update on the website since then. ASS Facebook page is however still active as it is maintained by the Facebook admins who have no editorial rights.
Going by the moniker Farhan, ASS started in May 2015, at the same time as States Times Review (STR) after The Real Singapore (TRS) was shut down. The two website, whose editors are both former TRS editors, agree to take over TRS’s role by splitting roles: one covering major news happening against Straits Times, and the other a tabloid news against the now-defunct The New Paper.
In April 2017, Law Minister K Shanmugam declared war on STR, ASS and another news site theonlinecitizen (TOC), promising to make these non-government-controlled news sites “feel the pain”. TOC editor Terry Xu has since been arrested for other charges in Dec 2017, and he has been issued a travel restriction order by the police. ASS editor Farhan mysteriously disappeared. Compared to the two, STR editor Alex Tan is safe in Australia.
STR is however different from ASS and TOC as it is an overseas website. Even though the editor is Singaporean, the website is built, written and fully Australian, obeying only Australian laws. The other two local websites have to comply with Singapore’s censorship rules like placing a S$50,000 bond and subject themselves to take-down orders from the Information Ministry and media authority.